December Birds

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:

IMG_4492

You can see that we are working hard to draw with realistic detail AND to hear more of the sounds in our words.

IMG_4487

In Real Life (and, bonus, you can see the tree that has been excavated by woodpeckers over the years in the background!)

IMG_4488

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.

Woods Alphabet Chart & Tree Math

What a wonderfully warm and sunny Forest Monday! We decided not to have a fire because it was a bit windy and with no snow on the ground, sparks are a risk. But we stayed warm by playing hard and eating all of our lunches.

IMG_4473

This was our second time at our Sit Spots. We used a string (which you can see in the picture) to measure a tree near or at our Sit Spot. We then used these in math to compare with a ruler and a yardstick. We discovered that we have a lot of large trees in our woods and fewer small trees.

img_0372

At our Phonics station, we started working on an alphabet chart for the woods. Part of our work right now as Word Scientists is to study not just one alphabet chart, but lots of different ones. Ms. Atkins & Mrs. Johnson did some further research to come up with objects for a few more letters, but we were still stuck on “z” and “u.” If anyone has an idea, pass it along!

 

Sit Spots, Snow, and a Fire

30 degrees was our low this week in the woods and with no sun, it certainly felt cold! We cozied up in our new Sit Spots though. Each child chose a spot that they will return to each week to sit and observe the woods around them.

IMG_0344

Hunter’s Sit Spot

IMG950343

Vincent and Mrs. Gray lying in his Sit Spot.

IMG_0348

Amelie and Gemma using a “drill” that they’d made out of a stump!

IMG_4467

But all the Forest Kids agreed that the highlight of our day was having our first fire. Miss Karen, our volunteer, was the official fire tender. The kids helped gather wood and break it up into small pieces. There was a lot of smoke (as you can see from the picture)! The rope around the rocks is the boundary that kids stay behind. Our fire helped us stay happy and warm in the woods on a chilly and drizzly day.

 

November

A great time had by all as we roll into November. It was hot in the sun when we first arrived, but by the end of our time when the sun had moved beyond the trees, the shady 49 degrees felt very chilly.

IMG_4456

Leon found a new way to climb little trees with tiny branches poking out.

IMG_4461

And then Noel climbed a HUGE oak. He found a hole where squirrels or maybe chipmunks might live. When he thought he couldn’t get down, Braxton brought him a “ladder” (really a big stick!) to try and help.

IMG_4463

We discovered a new big log to climb on today. Beyond it was a tiny stream (mostly mud, but it was still exciting!). We didn’t play near the mud because we didn’t have Grundens on today.

IMG_4453

The log in real life color.

IMG_4462

“Think of one thing you played and one thing you noticed in nature today. Hand on your head when you are ready to tell your partner.”

A Damp Forest Day

Do kindergarteners stay inside when it’s wet and misty? Goodness no! Our second bunch of Grundens is on its way, so not everyone had them. But we still had a great time. Some of us even saw a chipmunk on our hike! We learned about how we stay warm outdoors, by moving our bodies, wearing warm clothes, and making a fire. We didn’t make a fire today but we learned about them and practiced using our boundary rope around the rock fire circle.

IMG_4450

Nora: “Leaf and acorn.” You can see the rain all around.

IMG_4449

Hayden: “I found a grasshopper. He jumped off Jackson’s hand.” He wrote a “G” for grasshopper and you can see the circles where the grasshopper was jumping down.

 

 

 

 

IMG_4448

Jack: “We were playing in the den.” He labeled “River” “Jack” and “Logan”

IMG_4447

Our shared writing. Labels: “tree,” “clouds,” “rain,” “leaves,” “boots,” and “stream.”

A Warm Autumn Day

We had a balmy and summer-like Forest Monday, with kids in t-shirts some of the time! It doesn’t get better than that in October. Our science question was: “What kind of animals use our forest to survive? What kind of animals can we find in the forest?” We looked under logs and many of our Forest Journals reflect that.

IMG_4426

Logan: “Daddy worm and baby worm.”

IMG_4429

Laurel: “We found worms in their houses.” (Under logs, which you can see in her drawing). She labeled worms with “w”s and you can see how the arrows show where they live and how the log goes back down.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_4430

Astrid: “Roly-poly under a magnifying glass.” We found a lot of these under logs (roly-polies, pill bugs, sow bugs, isopods, whatever you call them!) and Astrid chose to draw hers zoomed in.

IMG_4427

Rowen’s Forest Journal. You can see where he labeled with the beginning sounds! 

There was a delay in getting this blog up because after school on Monday we hosted a meeting of the Outdoor Learning Network, a group of teachers in MSAD 75 and Brunswick who are learning together about teaching and learning outdoors. We are organized by CREA, the Cathance River Education Alliance, our local place-based education center. Mrs. Johnson and I got to show off our outdoor classroom to other teachers, and we had a fruitful discussion about what we are all up to this fall. I feel so lucky to have this community of teachers to learn alongside!

Oh How We Love the Rain!

IMG_20191007_095408618

The apple tree by the garden is still providing tasty apples. We look for ones that aren’t mushy! And we are careful of the yellow jackets who are still enjoying apples too.

IMG_20191007_103251274

“Sleeping Hare” is a game that gives us practice being quiet and still in the woods. Can you see Hayden peeking out from behind these leaves?

IMG_20191007_104238210

One group of Forest Kids was digging out an underground home.

IMG_20191007_104700910_BURST000_COVER_TOP

Another group of Forest Kids was a family of bunnies.

IMG_4421

Our shared writing. We learned about this rain gear and how to put it on and take it off today.

img_4422.jpg

Emilia’s writing: “I was playing on a log and pretending it was a unicorn.” You can see where she wrote her friends’ names who were playing with her.

IMG_4424

Jack: “We were digging an underground hole.” You can see where he wrote Lyndon’s name and an “M” for “me” and “an M for him too” (as he described).

IMG_4425

Silas: “I was fighting a monster with Hayden and Emilia.” He wrote his friends’ names using the word wall too!

Thanks everyone for sending in your kids so well prepared with boots and a warm layer. I’m sure we will have more rainy days!

Everyone Together

IMG_4409

Today all the kindergarteners were together for the first full Forest Monday. We all fit around the fire circle!

IMG_4399

We pretended we were chipmunks and gathered food for the winter, like pinecones.

IMG_4401

IMG_4404

We wear blaze orange throughout the fall to be extra safe.

IMG_4411

Jackson: “I was a Power Ranger and I was climbing a tree.”

IMG_4412

Laurel: “We were sitting around the fire circle eating lunch.”

IMG_4413

Nora: “We played queens together.” She labeled “Amelie, Kendall, and Gemma.”

IMG_4414

Our class shared writing. “Sleeping Hare” is where the kids pretend to be baby hares who are sleeping and camouflaged, and the adults pretend to be hungry coyotes. If the hares are still and quiet, they survive. If not, in the stew pot they go!

What a Scorcher!

We had our first full Forest Monday today, from 9:30 am until about 1:30 pm! And it was HOT out in the woods.

IMG_4372

The apple tree near the garden has great-tasting fruit. Rowen found a drop that was in good shape! 

IMG_4373

Nora and Lyndon navigating the ravine, with backpacks this time! 

IMG_4376

We pretended to be animals and built their homes today. Amelie was a deer and this is her bed. 

IMG_4377

Logan and Hayden were coyotes and worked on the roof of this den.

IMG_4378

Emilia was a bird and built a nest. 

IMG_4379

With Miss Karen, kids worked on counting to five and collecting plants that were the same (and then different). 

IMG_4380

With Mrs. Y, kids worked on phonics (the letters M and S).

IMG_4382

Jackson found this strange caterpillar with eyespots. I thought maybe it was a swallowtail??

IMG_4383

Fairy house builders – Laurel, Nora, and Amelie. 

IMG_4390

Lyndon: “I played Power Rangers with my friends.” He wrote “me” and “P” for “Power Rangers.” You can clearly see the different colors! 

IMG_4388

The documentation of the fairy house building by Amelie. You can see where she labeled “me” and “Nora” with the first letter.

IMG_4391

Laurel: “I made a bird nest.” You can see where she is also writing letters around her picture. The bird nest is in the top left by the “M” for “me.”

IMG_4389

Gemma: “I made a bed out of logs.” I think the G is for her, and maybe the S is for Silas? 

IMG_4387

Our class shared writing. We all helped draw the pictures. It was important that we found poison ivy and talked about what it looks like so we don’t play in it! 

 

All the Kindergarteners Outside

We had a great day out in the woods today with Mrs. Johnson’s class. It was partly cloudy, breezy, and warm or cool depending on what you were doing.

IMG_4350

Of course we did a LOT of climbing. Apple trees really are the perfect trees for climbing.

IMG_4352

Hunter E.

IMG_4353

Kendall

IMG_4341

Jack and Nathaniel, with help from others (like Jacob) built a fort!

IMG_4358

The fort quickly turned into an applesauce factory.

IMG_4348

We collected a lot of apples, and Jackson, Hayden, and Braxton found it hilarious to try and walk on them– resulting in a lot of falling down!

IMG_4351

Jacob was trying to cut a root for Leon and Noel with his chopping tool.

IMG_4339

Vinnie went fishing with his stick.

IMG_4361

Then we hike further on our trail for a loop back to school. These kids did great on their first crossing of “The Big Ravine”

Back at school, we debriefed the story of our day, and each kindergartener did their “Forest Journal” which they will add to all year.

IMG_4367

Hayden: “Me carrying some apples.” The apples are the big circles all around him. You can see below where he is learning to write his name.

IMG_4366

Jack: “Me climbing trees. And all the kids are playing in the grass.” Jack figured out that there were 14 kids in our class but he realized he ended up with more than 14 kids drawn here! He did an “M” for me and started to write other words too.

IMG_4365

Hunter: “The goats and the troll.” We are very into playing The Three Billy Goats Gruff! And you can see the hills of our woods in his picture.

IMG_4364

Astrid: “Me and Clara making soup.” She started to write and finished on the back.