Friday, October 31, 2014

The Halloween Party!

We had a great day today!  We did our work first and then we did some fun activities after lunch.  This teacher waited too long to buy a pumpkin, so thankfully the 1st grade teacher found us one.  It was small, but better than nothing.  I talked all about pumpkins and then I carved it into a baby jack-o-lantern.  It will be on my porch when they come trick-or-treating at my house.

After I read a few good books, the kids got into their costumes and all of the K-4 students piled into the bus.  We went out to the nursing home for a costume parade.  The residents gave them candy and enjoyed seeing the children.  When we returned we paraded through the 5th-8th grade rooms.  

Then it was time to party!  The mom's on the Halloween committee did a fantastic job!  The party was greatt!  A funny comment was heard as the kids were very quietly eating their lunch.  One boy said, "Why are you all staring at us?"  Pretty funny!  He was right.  We were staring at them.  They are just so cute!

Pumpkin carving time!

Here is the baby!

Trick-or-treating at the nursing home was a nice time.

A feast for the kids!  Wow!  They felt pretty special!

Bowling down rolls of toilet paper was great fun!

The beautiful girls!

Dressing up as something else is great fun for the kids!

The kids were very good at the party...

...maybe it was because there was a cop present!

There were smiles all around!

Here they are eating their lunch.  It was a great day!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Birthday Fun!

Having a birthday celebrated in school makes a person feel really special!  Two different classes came in and sang "Happy Birthday" to me.  The k-4 kids sang to me in the lunchroom and my students sang to me many times.  The kids made nice cards for me too.  I received many kind birthday wishes today. 

One family brought in some owl cupcakes to mark the day. What a great idea for the bird-y kindergartners!   Also, I traditionally bring my students to my house for a tour and a treat, so we did that today too.  It was a fun day!

Here are the wonderful cards that I received from students!

One family created these cupcakes as a birthday treat for us.

That is a pretty cool Great Horned Owl!

They got pretty silly eating their cupcakes!  They were hysterical!

Here they are eating cookies at my house.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Our New Bird Books!

There were thrilled with their very own bird book.

Today the kids received a package in the mail.  I opened the box as they did a drum roll. They cheered and cheered when they saw their new bird books.  I explained that these books are to help them learn about birds and that they would stay in school for the whole year.  Then at the end of kindergarten, they may take them home to keep.

Then I sent them off to sit with a friend to look through the book.  They were gasping when they recognized the birds that they knew!  They were naming off birds left and right.  They knew most of the birds in the booklet and of course I was scolded for not teaching them the others!  Ha-ha!  They seem to think that they should already know all them.

I had them choose a bird from the book to draw and write about in their journal.  They were SO happy!

Thank you to the SD Wildlife Division of Game, Fish & Parks for the donating these books that I asked for.  They really are helpful!  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Our Fall Nature Hike

I've been waiting for a beautiful day to get the kids out for their Fall nature hike.  This day fit the bill!   I'm glad I didn't wait much longer because many of trees had already dropped their leaves.  After lunch, we worked our way out to the lake picking up pretty leaves along the way and also looking for birds, which there weren't many of.  We did see and hear ten Cedar Waxwings.  We also saw a cottontail rabbit, a squirrel, and the turtles on a log.  

As we walked out there I stopped by a puddle and asked them what color the water was. We decided it was clear and then when we got out to the lake, I asked them what color the water was and they noticed it was blue.  Then we discussed it and they learned the word "reflection".  I explained that the water only looks blue because it is reflecting the sky.  One girl was amazed and asked, "Do you know everything?"  Ha-ha!  That was so cute.

When we got to an area with lots of crickets and grasshoppers singing, I taught them how to make their hands like a cup and put it up to their ears to help them hear better.  They couldn't believe how much better they could hear the crickets.  If you haven't tried it, you should.  It is a birding trick that I thought seemed a bit silly the first time only to discover that it really does work. The kids got a lesson on how crickets sing by rubbing their wings together and they learned more about sound waves.  

We talk about a lot of things on these hikes:  
  • how to cross the streets and highways safely
  • not to go near peoples' dogs
  • not to go in peoples' yards and pick their flowers or pretty leaves off of their bushes
  • how to get along when going on a hike
  • what poison ivy looks like and why they should not pick those pretty red leaves!
When we returned to the classroom the kids emptied their bag of leaves and began to show me if they could sort by color and sort by shape.  This is a math standard that they have to know and we had done it during the first week of school using classroom materials.  They remembered how to do it and they loved it!

Gathering leaves helped make them more aware
of the beautiful trees in the area.

One of those turtles is not a Painted Turtle.  It is a 
False Map Turtle. They have a rough ridged shell and 
yellow "eyebrows".  I don't see them very often.  I found out 
that it is rare to see them away from the Missouri River.  They
are a natural heritage species for the state, which means they
are rare.  That is really neat that we have one at our lake.
The kids love the bridge!

Of course we had to go through the spooky forest!

They were not scared this time.

Here they are sneaking up on the turtles!

The Cedar Waxwings were atop the tall Cottonwood tree.

Here are the cuties!

Some of the trees were really pretty!

The leaf-sorting lesson was fun.

Some kiddos gathered a lot of leaves.

They kids were on task during the project and proud of 
their work!

They liked these huge Maple leaves!

Footprint Ghosts

I had the kindergartners dip their feet in white paint and then step onto the paper to make footprint ghosts.  Then the kids added the details to their Halloween picture.  They are pretty spooky paintings!

The kids love to paint!

Those footprints kind of look like ghosts!

The Skeletons Are Chillin' in the Hallway!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"The Truth About Nature" Contest

We have entered a contest for Falcon Guides called "The Truth About Nature".  We created a video proving that a nature myth is wrong. We chose this myth:  "If you touch a baby bird, its parents will abandon it."  I made up the lyrics to a familiar tune.  

The video can be seen here at my Flickr site in a better quality.  It also is at this site under "Contest Entries", but it is not a very good quality video here.  We will need your vote, but as of now, I'm not really sure how we vote, but I will let you know as soon as I find out.

The winner will receive a school visit and talk by the authors of a new book titled:  The Truth About Nature by Stacy Tornio and Ken Keffer.  You can read more about them here at this link.  We also could win $1,000 worth of books!  Wow!  That would be awesome!  Keep your fingers crossed!

October Art

Today we made jack-o-lanterns for a border and we have been working on cutting out bones for our paper plate skeleltons for a week.  They really took their time to add details to their skeletons.  I was impressed by that!  After this cutting lesson, all other cutting during the year is a breeze!  It took me over three hours to tie them together and I wonder why I have a stiff neck and shoulder.  :)  I will put a photo of all of the skeletons on tomorrow.  I will need my better camera for that.

Hard at work adding the fine details to the skeleton.

I am very impressed with their creativity!  Wow!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Owl Pellets

This was one of those great days of teaching that reminds me why I love being a teacher!  

The 6th graders came in at the end of the day, so I decided to do a quick overview of local birds with the kindergartners naming them off for the older students.  

Then I did a lesson on owls.  I did a PowerPoint slideshow teaching them about the owls of South Dakota where I displayed a photo and played the song/call of each owl.  They quickly learned that not all owls hoot.  I also showed some photos of the prey that owls eat.  I told them what I knew about each one and I threw in some experiences that I've had with owls.  

Then I told them about how owls cannot digest the fur and bones of their prey, so they cough it up in the form of a pellet.  Next, the older kids paired up with a kindergartner and they dissected an owl pellet.  Then they compared the bones that they discovered to that on a chart.  We found that most of the pellets had rodent bones and one had eaten a bird. 

I imagine that you are thinking that this is gross, but kids seem to find it fascinating and so do I.  It is a good learning experience because it teaches them about anatomy, the food chain and it gets them thinking deeper and piecing the puzzle together.  Its a bit like being a detective.  The students were all actively engaged in the activity and having great conversations about what they were finding.  Like I said...this is what teachers love to see!

The cousins got to work together today.
Little brother and big sister are in a group with a friend.

There were lots of good questions being asked today.

Some of them made a good friend!

They glued the bones to a piece of paper.

They compare the bones to the bone sorting chart.

Twenty-five active learners!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Painted Lady Butterflies

Today we released our Painted Lady Butterflies.  The students wanted to keep them, but the instructions said to only keep them a few days after they emerged, so it was time and with the colder weather coming in there was no choice.  

The kids were very excited as the butterflies flew off!  They were screaming and clapping!  Children are so good about seeing the joy in life.

They loved the butterflies!
This is the cage that we kept them in.

Most of the butterflies took off before the kids got to hold them.

They had to be very gentle with them.

100 Birds!

The kindergarten students can now identify 100 birds!  They are very proud of themselves!

They learned 100 birds quite easily!  Wow!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Fire Safety Day

We have been talking about fire safety in school and I try very hard to inform them, while not scaring them about fires.  I keep remind them that it probably won't ever happen, but they need to know what to do, if it does.  They sure have caught on quickly and are now quite the experts on fire safety, so take the time to ask them about it.  

Remember to check your smoke alarm batteries and have one on every floor of your house or even in every bedroom.  Make a plan with your child on the two ways out of their bedroom and a safe meeting place once the family is all outside.  We stress "Get out and stay out" as well as if their clothes catch fire - "Stop, drop and roll".  They are also taught about 911 and to call it when they need help, but only if they do not have an adult around to call.  They can call for fire, medical emergency or even if they are accidentally left alone, which has happened before with a young student long ago.  I also stress not playing with fire, matches, lighters, etc.  The kids are so precious, so we want them to be safe. 

The local fire department came in this morning and showed a video about fire safety and answered questions.  They also gave the kids a ride in the fire truck and let them try on their boots, overalls and coat.  The kids loved it!

Thank your volunteer fireman for all that they do! 

The kids got a ride in the fire truck!  They were very happy!
They loved hearing the siren and the horn.

They were impressed with the firetruck.
This girl was very proud that her uncle was a fireman.

That air tank was heavy!
Smiles all around!
This girl is showing that she can handle it.

He might grow into it, but I don't know...