Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Boy and His Stokes

Yesterday, a first grade boy, came into my classroom before school started. He pulled out his field guide and said, "I need your help.  I can't remember the trick to tell the grebes apart."  He paged through and soon opened up to the Clark's and Western Grebes' page and I explained my trick to identifying them. A big smile appeared on his face as he remembered what I had taught him in kindergarten. 
That made me so happy that he was working on birds at home!  Think of all of the things that a young one would have with toys, TV and video games.  It is quite something that a 7-year old would take the initiative to continue learning about birds on his own with his field guide.
He told me that this is one of his four bird 
field guides.  He is very proud of that fact!
This has reminded me how important it is for me to keep teaching the young children about birds and nature.  Birds are everywhere and how fun it will be for the my students and past students to see the birds that they have learned about.  It is so important for all of us to be more aware of birds and other animals in nature.  
Being able to identify birds as well as having some background knowledge about them will help them to care more about birds.  It is difficult to care about things that you know nothing about. This in turn will help them become more conservation-minded.  We need all of the help we can to save habitat for birds and other animals, so we all need to spread the word or try to get others excited about the natural world.  Really...what's not to love!

Check these out!

These two Facebook pages have comments about the kids:

Falcon Guides

Destination Nature

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Team "Destination Nature" Visits Our School

We had a great day today!  Stacy Tornio and Ken Keffer were here because we had won the "Win a School Visit".  Stacy is the editor of the "Birds and Blooms" magazine and author of several books.  Ken is a naturalist and environmental educator.  The contest was to help promote their latest book. They did their interactive presentation about nature for the K-8 students. Reminding students that we can all be naturalists.  We all really enjoyed it!  

Afterwards they did a book signing with the students who had ordered their books:  The Truth About Nature and Kids' Outdoor Adventure Book.  Then they came into the classroom and hung out with us until lunchtime.  We took a few photos, identified bird songs and identified warblers for them on the Smart board.  We had to show off a little bit!  Then we played bird bingo of course!  After that, they looked over the drawings that the kindergartners had made for them while the students told something that they knew about nature.  It was a fantastic morning!

Stacy and Ken are finally here!  Yay!
Here are the K-8 students and teachers.
Truth or Myth: A turtle cannot turn itself over. Myth!
It can turn itself over by rocking back and forth.  
Turtles rock and roll!
When out hiking we often find bones and its interesting 
to know which animal they are from.  Which skulls do they 
have here?  A bear and a coyote.
Ken was an awesome speaker and taught us a lot!
Truth or Myth:  You can tell the age of a rattlesnake by 
its amount of sections on its rattle.  Myth!
Stacy really has a way with kids too and she also is 
a vibrant speaker!
Book signing with the kids was really cool!
They also signed the kindergartners' books for them.
In the classroom we had a really nice time.
Here I am with my two new friends.
Lunchtime!  Ken promised to eat school 
lunch with them!

I took Stacy and Ken out birding on Monday.  
It was a great time!  Stacy got a life bird as she saw 
her first Long-tailed Duck at the dam.  We also saw about
50 Bald Eagles.

Destination Nature - Facebook

Check out the Destination Facebook page. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Daily Republic News Story

The Associated Press picked up the story about the kids and it was in several newspapers:  Argus Leader, The Rapid City Journal and the Washington Times to name a few.  I have to say that I am shocked about this.  I had no idea that it would be such a big deal!

The reporter had interviewed me on the phone on Wednesday.  He later emailed that it would be on the front page and he asked if he could come meet the students and take some photos.  He came here that next afternoon and the kids were impressive while playing bird bingo.  

By the way, the reporter misunderstood.  The Snow Geese did not land on the playground. They flew over the playground and as good little birders the kids stood quietly outside and we watched them fly over. After they passed, the kids applauded for the Snow Geese.  I thought that was really cool!  Here is the link to the article.

Armour students soaring with bird knowledge

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

All Kinds of Cute!

Valentine's Day Party

The Valentine's Day party was a lot of fun!  The kids loved the games, the food, and the craft. They also enjoyed opening their Valentine's Day cards!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Pretty Valentine's Day Sacks

This is where they will deliver their Valentine's cards when 
they bring them.  They sure are pretty!

100 Days of School!

Here they are holding their booklet that they made.

This is what the 100 booklet looked like on the inside.
 We celebrated our 100th day of school on Thursday, February 4th, 2015!  The kindergartners have learned so much since that first day of school!  I am really proud of them!  Today we did many activities revolving around that number 100.  
  • counted 100 pennies 
  • found other ways to make a dollar using nickels, dimes and quarters
  • counted by 1s, 5s, and 10s to 100
  • wrote 1-100
  • attempted to be quiet for 100 seconds - that was pretty giggly
  • wrote a list of 100 things they learned in kindergarten   
  • illustrated a booklet and  drew pictures of what we could buy with $100, what they could eat 100 of, what they would want 100 of, etc.
  • made a cool headband with the #100 on it
I read several books about the 100th day of school and in the afternoon we had a cupcake to mark this special day!
I didn't think we'd come up with 100 things they'd 
learned, but actually there were more than this!

Cupcakes topped off the day!

They had a great day!

I'm glad the cupcakes weren't any larger!

Silly, silly, silly!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Teacher Has a Visitor to her Yard!

An Eastern Screech-Owl in the nest box, which is located in 
my backyard.  SInce it is right outside my kitchen window, it 
has made cooking and washing the dishes 
a bit more interesting.
You can tell by its feathering that it could be very camouflaged, 
when sitting in a tree.  I showed one of the first grade girls the 
photo and she said, "The white on it would help it blend in with the 
snow on the bark of the tree."  Wow!  That was very insightful!
I have had a large nest box up in my yard for over a year and this is the first time I'd seen an owl in it.  In our area the two most common owls are the Great Horned Owl, which many folks call the hoot owl due to its hooting sound.  That owl is quite large and is a fierce nighttime predator.  

The other owl commonly seen in the area is an Eastern Screech-Owl.  It is a very small owl that is only 6"-9" from head to tail.  It preys on small mammals, birds and invertebrates.  This owl does not hoot, but sounds more like a horse whinnying or it will make a trilling sound.  You can hear its various calls and trills on the "All About Birds" website by clicking here.  To read more about this fascinating night time creature click here.

Penguin Booklet

During this cold and snowy time of year, I focus some of our 
story time on penguins.  The kindergartners were the illustrators 
of this booklet about penguins. I have collected many fiction and 
non-fiction penguin books through the years and the children 
really enjoy them!  Also...the added bonus is that penguins are 
very unusual birds.

A Herd of Snowmen

These snowmen are all so unique - just like the children 
who created them.

Barn Owl?

"Look Teacher!  I'm a Barn Owl!"

Monday, February 2, 2015

Groundhog Day

Today I had the kids make Groundhog puppets for Groundhog Day.  They learned this poem to go with it.  We also discussed other animals that live underground.  They thought that was kind of interesting!

On February 2nd, Phil Groundhog pops out to see,
Just how much winter, there's going to be.

If the day is cloudy, he plays outside,
But if it is sunny, he pops back to hide.


Kids still love to get out the blocks and build.  Here is a creation by these two boys.  They were very proud!