Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"T" is for Tadpoles!


Looking at the captured tadpoles in the cups!

Checking out small see through bugs in the dirt with magnifying glasses.

Today we went out to a pond to play in the water and instead found a puddle loaded with tadpoles!  There were so many tadpoles that the water was moving with their black bodies.  We had brought along buckets and cups to play with, so pretty soon we were capturing tadpoles and looking closely at them in the sun.  Some of our tadpoles had back legs on them already-making them 'metamorphs" or "froglets".  Some did not have legs yet.  Many of the kids splashed through the water looking for move tadpoles but we think they were hiding in the mud! At lunch half of the class read about the life cycle of the frog.  We will read the book again on Thursday so everyone can learn about frogs and tadpoles.

Along the way to the pond we stopped and saw the new Juliani Pig  just donated to the farm.  He came up and snuffled us! We also played on one of our favorite "climbing structures."  A bunch of downed trees in the park. 

We are so looking forwrad to showing you many of our favorite places to play in the park on May 31st at 10am.  We will be taking a poll with the kids on Thursday to try and decide which places we will take you to!  Also, don't forget to bring a bag lunch so we can all eat together next Tuesday!

Teachers Ann and Jen

PS Don't forget the great opportunity to send your child to "camp" with Teacher Ann this summer at Farrel-McWhirter.  Tiny Treks is run by Teacher Ann in the summer and school year.  In the summer there are  both drop off camps and parent/child fun nature camps.  These camps are very similar to TOP's preschool program.  You can sign up through  the Redmond Parks and Recreation classes.  Go to "Day Camps" Then "Nature Programs" then find Tiny Treks.  The camps are filling up fast so don't wait too long to sign up!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Chalk on rocks and photo retrospective.

Our make-believe Elephant Tree!

Jumping from the tree game the kids made up and play each time we go there!

Kids in the nest they made-pretending to be baby birds.

I have included in this blog some retrospective photos from the whole year.  Look for more year-long photos to come in the last 2 weeks!

We had a really fun unplanned activity today- Teacher Jen had some rocks and let the kids color them with chalk and then wash them off with water.  We did this after lunch with rocks we found in the covered area (We had the chalk out for our snake craft).  Next week we plan to keep some chalk in my backpack to let the kids color and wash rocks in the river.

Today we had the kids carry their water bottles on our hike since it was so warm - they did great. Next week we plan on having the kids carry their lunch boxes a little way into the woods and so we can picnic there.

Teacher Jen and Ann can't believe we only have 4 more classes left.  What a fantastic year it has been.  TOP is a huge success! Don't forget the TOP picnic on May 31st.  Plan to stay the whole class!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

An "S" day! Stomping, squishing and sloshing in the mud!

What a fantastic day.  This week we are learning about the letter "S" and started out on our hikes looking for slugs, snails and spiderwebs.  As it turned out we had much more fun splashing, squishing and stomping in small streams and mud.

We started out the day singing the TOP song for Teacher Tami and then reviewing the TOP hiking and friendship rules before heading out on the trails.

The blue group hiked over to a giant puddled that is surrounded by rocks that are just the right size for throwing.

Today fourchildren in the blue group all wanted to be the "leader" on our hike.  At first they decided to take turns leading and following, but then on their own decided to hold hands and all be leaders together.  They even sang a song, "We are the leaders!".   The rest of the kids decided to be the "caboose" and gathered flowers along the way.

The yellow group hiked with Teacher Tami, squished in the mud, gathered lovely bouquets of flowers and played a rousing game of hide-and-seek.

I am so proud of all your children - they have been working so hard to take turns, be good friends, be kind to nature and each other.  What a great group of kids we have here at TOP.

As the weather (attempts) to warm up it is really important to dress the kids in layers.  When we are in the sun or hiking they get hot quickly, but often get chilly just as quickly once we head into the shaded forest.  A few of the kids have brought small backpacks to help carry discarded layers  - if your child has one please feel free to send it (no need to buy one if you don't already have one, though).  

Teacher Tami will be here again on Thursday and then Teacher Ann will return on Tuesday.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Who is leading whom?

Luca and Jakey as partners in exploration.

Teacher Jen is an awesome reader during snack.

The TOP kids had such fun on Tuesday that we decided to have each group lead the other group to their favorite spot.  The yellow group got to go first.  They remembered the tall grass and mud we were in on Tuesday so we hiked over there.  Then each child got to choose a partner from the other group to lead.
The yellow group took turns choosing a friend and then walking with that friend into the grass.  The kids were very attentive to explaining what was special about that place to their partner.  It was exciting to get to show the other group our special spot from Tuesday.

Then the blue group led us to their nature finds from Tuesday.  We wondered if we would fine a slug like they did and also if the trillium flower would remain where it was.  It wasn't long before we indeed did spy the tall trillium flower in all of its glory.  The next spot they wanted to show us was where the slug had been.  Alas, he had slimed away.  At that time we told the children to say good bye to their partners and we split up for a final walk with our smaller groups.  The yellow group found 5 slugs on their walk back and the blue group hiked for a long time before coming back to lunch.  We read a good book on how to be around friends called the Recess Queen-this was for our "Q" day!

We were so proud of the kids for doing so well with their partners.  It was also interesting to watch them choose to partner with kids we wouldn't have expected.  I think they enjoyed choosing their own friends and taking turns being in charge.  This is a good leadership lesson for them.  Some of them had to walk slower than they liked because their friends were slower and others had to speed up.  But taking the time to think of someone besides themselves is a good reaching goal for them.

The Recess Queen

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Kittens, a slug and a trillium flower!

TOP kids looking at a very tall trillium flower.

The farm has 2 new kittens and today we got to all pet them them!  During our TOP circle we spent a long time taking turns talking about how to handle a kitten.  Everyone had good ideas of how to be with the animals.  "Don't talk loud."  "Don't kick them."  "Be nice to them."  "Don't run around."  Everyone got a chance to say their idea.  After we sang our TOP song we lined our boots up at the Ops building and quietly went in to meet the kittens. Two kids decided that they didn't want to pet the kittens so they sat a few feet away from the circle.  Everyone else was quiet and still, sitting cross-legged on the floor and patiently waited their turn to pet a kitten.  Jen and I were so impressed that the children were able to wait as we went from child to child with the kittens.   For those children un-used to cats, we taught them how to pet from the head to the tail.   We also let the kittens roam the room a bit.  The kids really enjoyed watching where the kittens went.  No one jumped up to follow them.  Afterwards the kids put on their boots and we had a yummy snack in the sun outside along with a fun book about kittens.

The yellow group today went to explore the tall grass.  We crossed 2 small streams while the grass sometimes went over the kids heads!  On the way back there were great puddles to jump in.  The kids asked each other if they wanted to be splashed before making lots of waves. 

The blue group was facinated today by a slug that was crossing the path.  They decided to try an experiment with the slug. They put a pinecone in its way to see if it would go around the pinecone or over it.  After a very long time, the slug went over the pinecone.  Wow!  The kids also carefully looked at a trillium flower they found in the forest.  They are so pretty with their 3 leaves and 3 petals.

Next week is "R" week.  We will be making "roads"  and possibly "roaring" like a lion!