Another Sunny Forest Friday

From Fire to Word School to Bookstores

We had a fabulous time out in the sunny, crunchy woods. There was a trickle of water in the ravine, just enough crusty snow to play with, and sticks to gather for the fire. Ms. Karen Tilbor, a veteran Bowdoinham fire-tender, came to build and watch our fire for us. It was so cozy to have a fire at last!

This afternoon, we transitioned into some big work in Phonics and Writing. This has nothing to do with the woods, but I am proud of these kids. They taught their stuffies all that they have learned about snap words in “Word School.” It was a beautifully humming half hour!

And last, we put the final touches on our books, ranging in topic from Star Wars to pets to vacations to dragons. We created a bookstore that is open to teachers and staff next week. It is 50 cents a book! All proceeds will go to the Bowdoinham Food Pantry. These writers have worked incredibly hard the last couple of months, and now they can write a book across a few pages with labels and a sentence! You can see the books sorted by category in the colored slots across the wall. It is very exciting to be a writer whose books people may want to actually buy! With real money!

Sparkly, Glittery, Wonderful Snow!

Fall Highlights

We are still going outside! It has been the perfect way to stay social distanced and be able to play and explore with more freedom than we have in the classroom. A few pictures from this fall:

Mud Season Upon Us

Signs of spring were all around today! Bugs, mud, bits of green grass, warm sun, trickling water, soft thawing ground. I love that when you ask these Forest Kids what signs of spring they have noticed, they know there aren’t any flowers and butterflies out. This is mud season at its best!

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A bark beetle found by Hunter. It was tickly!

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An ant found by Laurel. It was still cold but beginning to move around.

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Mud. Love it and hate it. Lyndon had a particularly good mud outfit on today! Probably from rolling down muddy hills over and over.

Apologies to everyone for the muddy coats and mittens. I guarantee you, the best kind of fun and learning was happening today in the woods. Thank you for your patience with it all!

 

March 2 Owl Pellet

Last week, under Amelie’s Sit Spot tree, we found an owl pellet! It was a small gray lump about the size of a large grape. If you aren’t already familiar with the concept, predatory birds cough up pellets consisting of the parts of their prey they cannot digest. Waste also passes through them, but is a soft consistency (what you think of as bird poop!) and doesn’t contain any solids like bones or fur the way mammal scat does. So, dissecting an owl pellet is an easy way to find out what the bird was eating. In the picture below, the gray stuff is fur and you can see a few bones lined up–a pelvis, jawbone, and a partial skull. Some kind of small mammal like a mouse, shrew, or vole! The kids were fascinated to watch me dissect this, and Gemma went at it afterwards with a pair of gloves and the tweezers.

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I remember dissecting owl pellets myself as a third grader. Incredibly fascinating! 

Sunny and Snowy

We had a great time in the soft snow and warm sun today. While it was melting into puddles on the playground, deep in our ravines it was still cool (high-30s) enough for plenty of snow. We traveled a little farther today to play, exploring a big downed tree and the root ball. The imaginative play and naturalist investigations skyrocketed! Kids were foxes, mountain lions, vets, doctors, motorcycle drivers, fairy house builders. We discovered holes in the ground, ice and water in the streambed, and a mysterious trail of fluffy black feathers.

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Gemma high up on the root ball. This is a great place for a climbing challenge with all the frozen mud but lots of little sticks for foot and handholds. 

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Rowen with his snowman. He and Nathaniel were rolling balls of snow down the hill into the ravine to make them larger.

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Lyndon: “The nature was singing to me.” You can see him sitting under his tree at his Sit Spot and the bird in the tree that he heard. 

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Emilia: “I went in the tree. I found a tree stump.” You can see how Emilia is writing the beginning and ending sounds of her words! And she got her snap words right too.

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Amelie: “There was water by the benches. It was melting.” She didn’t quite finish coloring, so I hope she’ll forgive me for posting. But Amelie shows here that naturalists notice even the smallest things, especially about changes in the weather. 

Short, but Sweet Forest Day

We had a delay today because of freezing rain, but still got out in the woods in the afternoon. We got outside just as the rain started to taper off, phew! And with Grundens pants for all and coats for some, we stayed pretty dry. The woods smelled so sweet and fresh!

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More ice fishing.

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You could see where the water level of the drainage dropped, leaving a gap under new, thick ice. Jackson was playing in the hole and everyone was pretending to find pretend frogs and snakes.

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It was fun to learn that crows talk to each other and that spiders are active in the winter! 

Sawing Wood and a Hike!

Today part of our group went on a hike, checking out some of the Red Rose Preserve Trails closest to our woods. Mrs. Johnson, Mrs. Kelley, and Miss Karen led the way.

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Hiking

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Hikers stopped plenty of times to play!

 

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Laurel: “We all had to go through the creepy forest. It was dark.”

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Jackson explained, “We went on the bridges.” You can see the blue ice beneath.

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Meanwhile, the other kids were sawyers working hard. Astrid: “The wood box was so full. And Mr. Smaha helped.” We were glad to have Nora’s dad with us today!