Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Last Day of School

Here they are on their last day of school!  What a wonderful year we had together learning all they needed to know and exploring our world!  They have grown and changed so much since that first day of school.  I will miss them so much, but it is a pattern in my life that I have been through many times.  I hope that they have a safe and enjoyable summer!  I will see them around town and in August when they return as 1st graders!

We've Published a Bird Book

At the end of the school year we were working on their very own published bird book.  The size of book that we can afford is twenty pages.  It is quite a lot of work, but very educational as the students worked together to find details of each bird, write about the bird they chose and draw the bird remembering the important field marks.

First, we chose which 23 birds we wanted to have in our book.  Then we researched each bird at the smart board and came up with a few facts about each one.   I typed up the facts for each child to copy onto their page.  They met with me first to discuss which field marks are important to remember.  Then some of them had step-by-step drawing lessons and others did not need it.  I don't draw on their paper, but I show them how to draw the bird.  They loved this activity, even though the writing was a bit difficult. Here are a few of the finished pages.  They will be available for sale online within the week!  Their bird book should cost around $10.  I will let you know when they are ready for purchase.  It will be a nice keepsake from their year in kindergarten.

Meet The Chickadee Bird Club

Here is the Kindergarten through 4th grade students or as I call them...the Chickadee Bird Club.  All of them have gone through my kindergarten class learning about birds and nature throughout the year.  I realize that many people don't remember much from their year in kindergarten, but I hope that I have made a difference and have given them a well-rounded education prompting them to be life-long learners.  

As they move through the grades we get together to review birds a few times a year.  I feel like they probably know more about birds than most elementary students and hopefully this will help them be more aware of nature and enjoy its beauty throughout their lifetime!

Rock Painting

In conjunction with the book and song titled, "Only One You" by Linda Kranz, our music teacher asked if all of the elementary kids would each paint a rock to look like a fish, being as creative as only they know how.  They will eventually be displayed outdoors with a sign that says, "There is only one you in this great big world!  Make it a better place!"  How true!  What a great idea!  I can't wait to see the rocks displayed!

Sink or Float?

We decided to try our hand at being scientists.  First, the students had to guess if an object would float in water.  They had to write yes or no on the form with a marker.  Then we tested it out and they wrote what really happened.  They had to write yes or no with a pencil.  Some of them didn't like being wrong and they wanted to change it, but I assured them that it was okay to be wrong when you are doing activities like this.  I try to get them to think like a scientist by making a guess/hypothesis, testing it, make observations and coming up with a conclusion.  They loved this activity!  You can do this sort of thing at home too.


Journal Pages

You can see that the child is using bird alpha-codes, 
so that she doesn't have to write out the whole bird name.  
She was writing about the Northern Cardinal - NOCA is its 
code name.  Some of the kids were really interested in that.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


On Monday, May 15th we had a huge storm with a 
microburst of wind that hit right during the morning 
commute to school.  We lost power to the school, so we 
needed to call off classes for the day.  
There was significant damage in town from collapsed 
roofs and buildings to downed and uprooted trees.  
It was really something how quickly all of the damage 
occured.  Here is a photo of the kids in the dark 
waiting for someone to pick them up.  Everyone was a 
bit rattled due to the severe weather.

Graduates Walk Through the Halls

The kids lined the hallway and waited for 
the seniors to make their way through.

It was very touching to hear the applause as 
our graduates paraded through the hallways!

All of the elementary kids applauded 
for them.  It was very touching!

Kittens Visit the Classroom!

Some kittens stopped in for a visit via the Hoffmann family.

The kittens got a lot of love!

They found out that while they were soft, they had
very sharp claws.  They were wrapped in small towels to
protect the kids from getting scratched.

It was difficult to take turns and share the kitten.

What a cutie!

They were fairly content being held.

Little Gardeners

To review what they learned about plants during 
the school year, we planted seed in a styrofoam cup.
  It seemed like a "kindergarten" sort of thing to do.

They each filled their cup with a few pebbles and some soil.

Then they planted two Marigold seeds and 
two Green Bean seeds.

A Few April Journal Entries

Monday, May 15, 2017

Kindergarten Field Trip

Our kindergarten field trip was a really fun time with beautiful weather!  We went to a local lake.  The kids had time for free play and we went birding along a beautiful trail.  They saw American White Pelicans and a Swainson's Hawk flying overhead.  We saw Wood Ducks, and a Northern Cardinal.  They did quite well at identifying birds by song:  Blue Jay, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, etc.  

After birding the kids were hungry and we had our picnic.  They loved that!  Then we tried to fly kites, but it wasn't windy.  In South Dakota?!  That is odd!  We played with the bubbles and Frisbees.  We watched the Barn Swallows swoop in and out of the picnic shelter.  Then I set up the outdoor classroom with activities at four different stations.  After some free time, we hiked and birded the other side of the lake.  Then we had cookie break and it was already time to leave.  It was a great day outdoors!

They loved the playground!

These kids are like monkeys!  They made me a bit nervous!

This cool bridge is along the trail
There was a lot to see in the woods!

Here we are watching the singing Northern Cardinal.
The kids were really hungry after their long hike!

Food always seems to taste better when we're outdoors.

This tall slide was a hit!

Here is a view of the playground.  What a fun place!

Center 1:  Make peanut butter pine cone bird feeders 
to take home and hang in their tree.

Center 2: Take magnifying glasses out and 
explore the tiny things in nature.
Center 3:  Build a fairy house, or a toad house 
or even a bird house out of sticks, bark, 
grasses and flowers.  They enjoyed this one!

The little houses came in all shapes and sizes!

The kids moved from one center to another.  
This was a fun time!

Here is another cool house!

I think the kids really enjoyed this field trip 
out in nature and it is a great ending 
to a year of nature and bird related lessons.

One thing I like about this project is that they 
have to cooperate and work together as a team.
Center 4:  Search for feathers, flowers, pine cones, etc. 
to add to a Y stick with yarn weaved through it.

Its time for that second hike, so we 
marched up the stairs to see the lake.

Here they are by the lake.  It was very windy here 
and we held out our wings and pretended 
to soar like eagles or vultures.  I didn't get a 
photo of that...I was busy flying of course!

The kids enjoyed squeezing through 
this "keyhole" along the trail.
Here they are!  The kindergarten birders/happy campers!
I love these kids!